The 38th edition of the European Chess Club Cup and the 27th Women’s European Club Cup kicked off in Durres, Albania. The event boasting a record number of participants – 110 teams from 34 European federations – started with an opening ceremony at Grand Blue Fafa Resport, the playing venue of the tournament. Both competitions are 7-round Swiss tournaments with classical time control.
Players, guests, and officials were welcomed by the President of the European Chess Union Zurab Azmaparaishvili, the President of the Albanian Chess Federation and Chief Executive Officer of the European Chess Union Erald Dervishi, Honorary President of the Albanian Chess Federation Eduard Shalsi, and the President of the Albanian National Olympic Committee (KOKSH) Fidel Ylli.
Erald Dervishi greeted all the guests and expressed gratitude to ECU for giving the Albanian Chess Federation an opportunity to host this prestigious event. “We will do our best to organize it in the best possible way. I hope all of you will enjoy Albanian hospitality, culture, nature, and cuisine!”
Fidel Ylli talked about the importance and prestige for the country to host such a major chess tournament: “This event is very important for us because sport is not just a competition. Sport is economy, sport is image, sport is everything for the country. I want to thank ECU for choosing Albania to host this event!”
Zurab Azmaparaishvili expressed his hope that participants of the European Chess Club Cup will enjoy their stay in Albania. “European Club Cup is growing up and reaching the new heights. Now we have 110 clubs playing and we could have even more! Great job was done by the Albanian Chess Federation. Every time I visit Albania, I am discovering country, its culture and nature, but I also see how chess develops. This is the country you want to return to.”
After two rounds of play, as many as 18 teams are tied for the top position in the open section. In Round 3 the top-seed Superchess is taking on Vugar Gashimov, while Offerspill Sjakklubb, headed by Magnus Carlsen is facing SK Zmaj.
In the women’s event, four teams are sharing first place, but the rating favorite Monte Carlo is not one of them. Lead by the Muzychuk sisters, the squad was held to a draw in Round 2 by the seventh-seed MSK Centar Asseco See.
Photo: Niki Riga
Detailed information can be found on the official website of the event.
Photo gallery by Niki Riga can be found on the Facebook page of the event.
Live broadcast of games together with live commentaries by WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni and GM David Howell can be followed through the ECU YouTube channel.